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2021 Elections - Thursday 6 May 2021

Parish elections - Kidderminster Town Council

Dos and don'ts for Tellers

The information set out below must be read in conjunction with the best practice guidelines provided by the Electoral Commission (copy in the Candidates and Agents Pack). However, locally the Returning Officer will permit for Tellers to stand or sit outside Polling Stations rather than the polling place as set out in the Electoral Commission’s Guidance. Often Tellers are located in a foyer or corridor that is inside the Polling Place but outside the Polling Station.

Definitions of Polling Place and Polling Station are as follows:

  • ‘Polling Place’ - means the building in which polling stations are located and includes the cartilage of the polling place e.g. an adjoining car park to the building
  • ‘Polling Station’ - is defined as the room or area within a polling place where electors cast their votes, which contains the polling booths, ballot box and Presiding Officer’s table. The polling station is a self contained area which only those allowed by law may enter. More than one polling station may be located within a polling place.

During the elections in 2013, a number of complaints were received by the council’s Elections Office from members of the public with regard to the behaviour of some Tellers, which was seen to be intimidating. The issue of intimidation is very subjective. However, the role of the Tellers should be carried out in a way which doesn’t give rise to people feeling intimidated.

It is recommended that all Tellers should be given a copy of the Electoral Commission Guidance and this paper so they fully understand their role.

Tellers have no legal status and voters have the right to refuse to give them any information.

Tellers MUST:

  1. Stand outside Polling Stations however, they are often accommodated in a foyer or corridor that is inside the Polling Place but outside the Polling Station.
  2. Only enter the Polling Station to cast their own vote, to vote as a proxy or to assist a voter with disabilities.
  3. Always comply with the instructions of the Deputy Returning Officer, Presiding Officer or Polling Station Inspector

Tellers MUST NOT

  1. Be able to see or hear what is happening inside the polling station.
  2. Impede, obstruct or intimidate voters on their way in or out of the Polling Station.
  3. Demand any information relating to a voter’s elector number, name or address.
  4. Ask voters to re-enter the Polling Station to ascertain their elector number.
  5. Have discussions with voters that may give rise to allegations of undue influence (e.g. voting intentions or party affiliations).
  6. Display any campaign material (including posters on boundary fences of Polling Places) in support of or against any particular political party or candidate other than a rosette.

Tellers MAY:

  1. Approach voters for information as they enter/leave the polling station.
  2. Display a coloured rosette showing the name of the candidate or party. While the rosette must not be oversized, it may carry a description or emblem.
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